Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 10/1/14

  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 10/1/14 
  by Donna L. Watkins  



Hello Dear Friends!

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North Gate From Within Fort Monroe
Continuing on with photos from our overnight getaway Labor Day weekend, the next stop was Fort Monroe which was nice since I could pretty much stay in the car and take pictures or get out for a few minutes and come back to the air conditioning.  Even when it was cloudy it was oppressively hot.  Lots to see at Fort Monroe and very interesting for those with historical interest in the Civil War also.  There are 259 buildings and structures at Fort Monroe, 170 of which are historic.

There are 565 acres with nearly 200 acres of natural resources, including 8 miles of waterfront, 3.2 miles of beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, 110 acres of submerged lands and 85 acres of wetlands.  View Fort Monroe Photo Album.

The Casemate Museum was by far the most interesting place (and air-conditioned).  It was incredible all that they had in that building.  Very well done and super informative on all of the many uses Fort Monroe had over the years.  View Casemate Museum Photo Album.

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Black Gum Tree with Fruit for Wildlife
I was picking up acorns to put on trays in the garage so towards the end of winter we can put them out for the wildlife when things are sparse. If we leave them on the ground they just bear roots, the nut rots and we have to dig out small oak trees every few years. Last year we didn't have any acorns at all. It happened in many places here in the East. Some years are better than others, but last year was horrible and it was a year of a very frigid winter here in Virginia and elsewhere.

While doing that I noticed a tree with lots of berries on it.  Looked like one of our Black Gum trees but I'd never seen it with fruit. They bloom around May-June but the flowers are too tiny to notice, yet very attractive to pollinators as a nectar source.If you're looking for a great tree for your wildlife habitat landscaping ... this one is a keeper.

The birds attracted are many.  From a list that I found, we have 15 of them as regular visitors (some migrating through each year) and 6 that we've not seen.  Even mammals enjoy the benefits of these trees:  squirrels, small rodents, gray foxes, opossums, raccoons, coyotes, black bears, and white-tailed deer.

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Juvenile Eastern Towhee - First I've Ever Seen
View More Towhee Photos
Continuing on with new things to see ... the two holly trees (we thought they were bushes when we planted them) at the breakfast area window are busy spots for the birds.  The deck is on the other side of the railing which includes a birdbath and they love to take their bath and then preen and clean while they're hiding in the bushes.  So there's always a lot of activity going on in those "bushes." 

One day I saw something that didn't look familiar so I grabbed the camera and then went to look.  The bird was hopping from here to there in the denseness of the branches but I finally got a few shots to determine what it was.  I was really excited to realize that it was a Juvenile Eastern Towhee.

Sadly, these birds are common victims of the parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird that lays eggs in Towhee nests and then leaves the baby birds to be raised buy the Towhees.  Towhees don't seem to have the ability, as some other birds, to recognize or remove the Cowbird's egg.  This could be because the female Cowbird removes the Towhee egg when laying their own, making the switch harder to notice.

This bird is actually part of the sparrow family although they are certainly twice the size of sparrows.  They tend to be solitary, and they use a number of threat displays to tell other towhees they’re not welcome. We've never seen more than one couple here. Studies show that male Towhees usually defend territories many times larger than needed for their food supply.

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Monarch Butterfly Fresh From the Chrysalis
View More Monarch Photos
Those of you who follow monarchs closely are aware that the monarch population has been declining for the last 10 years with significant drops in the population each of the last three years. The number of trees and total area occupied by monarchs in the oyamel fir forests in Mexico was at an all time low last winter - a mere 0.67 hectares. This decline has given rise to a great deal of concern about the future of the monarch migration.  Programs such as the Monarch Waystation, Bring Back the Monarchs, and Milkweed Market programs. These programs are growing but they need to become much, much larger to sustain the monarch migration. Consider making a difference by participating in one of them. 

We have a Certified Monarch Waystation, but our milkweed plants have not been spreading, so this year, we are going to participate in the Milkweed Market Program since we have seed pods of one of the milkweed species needed in Virginia.  Schools and non-profits can get milkweed seeds free.  More info on that here.

There will be a modest increase in the number of monarchs in the migration and at the overwintering sites this winter. All of the factors Chip Taylor, Monarch Watch's Director, researched indicate that there will be more monarchs migrating this fall and at the overwintering locations by mid-December when the colonies are measured. All in all things are looking up for monarchs this year.  Reports from throughout the breeding range indicate an increase in monarch numbers.

On August 26th 2014, The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, The Xerces Society, and Dr. Lincoln Brower submitted a petition to the Secretary of the Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that the monarch butterfly be granted threatened status under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act.  Read this blog post for more information on that.

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Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia)
on Obedience Plant
View More Spider Photos
A green pest control company in Canada contacted me to promote an article as PR for spiders. I get too many folks contacting me to add an article to the blog, but I'm a sucker for bugs since I overcame my fear many years back after moving to the woods, so here goes ... A fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias among people, and largely irrational given that we are much more likely to kill them than they are to kill us.  Check out these spider facts then take the challenge and read the article.

- There are over 40,000 known species in the world and only a dozen or so which are lethal to humans
- Just one spider in your house will mean around 2,000 fewer bugs each year
- They keep the garden healthy by feeding on a variety of pests that attack flowers and vegetables
- Spiders will generally limit their own numbers and control their own population

If you'd like some steps to overcome your fear of spiders, check out this article at WikiHow.  I wrote an article, Freedom From Fear, quite a few years back and talked about getting over the bug phobia.

My sweet friend and spiritual sister, Elva, in Texas sent me this photo of a double rainbow she took in front of her house.  Amazing!  I'd never seen a double rainbow, so I Googled to find some information.  According to AccuWeather.com meteorologists:  a ray of sunlight passes through a raindrop, reflecting off the back of the drop at varying angles.  Along with this reflection is refraction of light that causes a spectrum of colors.  Certain angles and "bending" reflect light better for refraction to occur, and the amount of light refraction corresponds to wavelength and color. 

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Double Rainbow
While a primary rainbow is visible when light is reflected once off the back of a raindrop, a secondary and usually dimmer rainbow is spotted when light is reflected twice in a more complicated pattern.  The colors of the second rainbow are inverted, with blue on the outside and red moved to the inside.

The second bow appears dimmer or cloudier because much more light is released from two reflections, and both bows cover a larger portion of the sky.  Many rain droplets of all different sizes, not just one, are responsible for this phenomena. Perhaps billions of water droplets and sunlight reflections make a rainbow visible to the human eye.  The best time to see a rainbow is in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky. When the sun is in a lower position, a higher bow can be seen.

My instant thought was double blessings and a double reminder of God's promises to us since the rainbow was a sign of His promise in Genesis.  Since I have another sweet friend in Massachusetts whose name is Rainbow, I sent it along to her as a reminder that God is watching over her and still delights in confirming His promises ... as He does for all of us.

One of the things I look forward to each year is getting to pick Concord grapes over in the Shenandoah Valley.  I'll take any excuse to drive over the Blue Ridge Mountains to enjoy that area.  It reminds me of the Lancaster County area of Pennsylvania.  I grew up in a neighboring county.  The Wenger Grape Farm is between Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft, an area that has a large concentration of Mennonite families. Paul L. Wenger, planted the first vineyard in 1938. Since that time the acreage of grapes has expanded to 35 acres.

I had spent 5-1/2 hours on other errands and it was a bit warm, so by the time I got to the vineyard, I decided to buy the grapes already picked. Only $.10 more a pound which made them $1.20 per pound.  What a deal.  The skin is a deep dark color and the flavor is amazing!  They don't keep very long so I like to freeze some and enjoy them as little pop-in-your-mouth icicles.  They taste so rich and juicy and the skin is filled with antioxidants.

At the top of the list of antioxidant research is resveratrol (a phytonutrient present mostly in grape skins, but also in grape seeds and grape flesh). Resveratrol has recently been shown to increase expression of three genes all related to longevity.  I take resveratrol daily in an herbal formula (Super ORAC) that includes other potent antioxidants, but I love to eat the real thing that isn't hybridized for convenience and still contains all the natural nutrients God put it. It's called "heirloom seeds."

Source:  www.StuffJesusNeverSaid.com
Too often we just read through the Bible and don't really focus on anything.  When something seems to hit your heart while you're reading the Bible, STOP reading further. Take the time to stick with that verse.  God wants to show you something.  Reading the Bible isn't supposed to be something we have to do, but something we desire to be taught by the Lord.  God Word is alive and active like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), so there's a lot in every Word He spoke.

"Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."  Ephesians 3:20

Notice the last portion of the verse.  Many times only the first part is quoted, but the manifestation of that is 'according to the power that works in us'.  When we accepted Jesus as Lord, all that He did and all that He is was placed inside of us in our spirits, but we have to believe it to bring it out where we can see it.  Science is now discovering that our thoughts and beliefs are what rule our lives.  Whatever we think on becomes the life we live.  Puts a lot of responsibility on us, but how exciting that we can change our lives by changing our thoughts and what we speak. 

You don't magically have life turn around when you get saved.  It's how much you put into the relationship that makes things change.  I have a box with 52 Scripture cards in it (52 Weeks to a Positive Life) and on the back Norman Vincent Peale adds an encouraging word.  The comments on the verse above are powerful, but it takes our active participation and belief to have things manifest into the physical realm from the spiritual.

"Today, remind yourself that nothing is too good to be true.  Your great hopes can be realized.  Your most wonderful dreams can come true. All that you really need, you can have.  An incredible goodness is operating on your behalf.  If you are living a paltry life, resolve to stop it today.  Expect great things to happen.  Confidently receive God's abundant blessings.  Do not think lack.  Instead think prosperity, abundance, the best of everything.  God wants to give to you, His child, every good thing. Don't hinder His generosity."  Norman Vincent Peale

The belief that's being talked about is in our hearts, not our heads.  We can believe facts and information, but if our heart has believed something else, or has a different view of who God is, then it will take time to renew our minds so it can become our heart's belief.

Unconditional love is foreign to us.  As a child we're rewarded for being "good" and disciplined for being "bad."  It continues with school, sports, where we work, and even relationships are based on "what's in it for me?"  All of that programming leaves us with a heart belief that we have to do something to earn God's love or blessings.  It's already been done with Christ.  How could man ever do anything to add to Christ's sacrifice?  Jesus said "It is finished."  You can't add anything to it.  He died to give you .... life abundantly.

Donna on Sandstone Quarry Tour
If you haven't read and/or watched the videos on Renovate Your Mind that was posted last month, check it out and begin your journey to God's abundant life.

Take some of these beautiful Autumn days and spend them with Jesus in a forest, on the beach, by the lake ... He loves to walk and talk with you and delights in having time with you.

Have a blessed time with the Lord THIS week.

Donna



P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?
Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter:  
http://www.thenatureinus.com/2014/10/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-10114.html

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Posts Since Last Newsletter

What It Means To Believe

Children's Cereals: Sugar by the Pound

Step Away From The Leaf Blower

Cynophobia – The Fear of Dogs

Renovate Your Mind

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/15/14  (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Our Life in Him
 
Swimming Safety for Dogs (Video)
 
Bad Choices Lead to Toxic Thinking
 
Duckweed - There Are Some Benefits
 
The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/1/14 (DLW)

Do You Really Trust God? (DLW)

Monarch Waystation in Mall

Jogging With Your Dog (Video)

Overcoming Trouble

Slugs - Give Them a Chance to Steal Your Heart

Can We Control Emotions and Feelings?

Lyme Disease - An Emerging Pet Problem

Seeing The Word Alive In Me  (DLW)

Living Near Trees Reduces Stress

Composting Cardboard

Baffling Behaviors of Pets

God Wants YOU Well


Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always - What's On Sale Now?





© All photos unless otherwise noted are the property of Donna L. Watkins and cannot be displayed without approval. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What It Means To Believe

by Cecil Paxton

Many Christians have difficulty receiving from God because they do not understand what it means to believe. Most Christians think that believing is something that they choose to do through their choices. In other words, if they choose to believe something then they are believing.

However, true believing is more than a choice. The choices we make in life are the beginning of the process of believing. In fact, you can choose to believe the doctrine of your church but under the pressure of life’s problems live other beliefs from your heart.

In Acts 8:37 after seeing some water the eunuch questioned Phillip and said “what hinders me from being baptized?” Phillip did not say “just repeat this prayer after me.” Instead he said, “If you believe with all of your heart you may.”

True believing involves identifying with the promise instead of the problem. To identify with something means to become the same with something to the place that you become it and live it. The eunuch said with all of his heart, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." And the next thing you know he is in the water being baptized.

Cecil has this new teaching available to help you understand what it means to believe so that receiving from God will come easier instead of being difficult.

Downloadable MP3
Audio CD


Children's Cereals: Sugar by the Pound

The Environmental Working Group's analysis of more than 1,500 cereals, including more than 180 children’s cereals, shows that a child who eats a bowl a day for a year ends up consuming 10 pounds of sugar.

A single serving can contain nearly as much sugar as three Chips Ahoy! cookies, and more than two Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies. And because the serving sizes listed on many cereal boxes are unrealistically small, even sugar-conscious consumers are eating even more than they realize.

To top it all off, 11 of the 13 most heavily sugared children’s cereals feature marketing claims like “Good Source of Fiber” that suggest misleadingly that the products are healthful.

So how do you navigate the cereal aisle to find the least sugary products? Check these lists to see which have the most and the least sugar before you head to the store.


Step Away From The Leaf Blower


by Heather Holm

As fall approaches, the leaf blowers have already started up in our neighborhood. I could … tell you how important leaves are in the garden as a natural mulch and how they contribute to the organic matter in the soil. It’s what leaf blowers are designed to do that troubles me.

Remember the Three Little Pigs story? The big bad wolf (insert leaf blower) says “I’ll huff and I’ll puff till I blow your house down”.

Leaves provide habitat for so many organisms during the different stages of their lifecycles. Without a good layer of leaf litter left on the ground, we are severing so many of the connections in the food and plant web in our ecosystems. Leaves provide much-needed protection from cold temperatures during the winter months, as well as the fluctuating freeze-thaw cycles.

You'll be surprised at how many organisms rely upon leaf litter:  Read Heather's article.



Cynophobia – The Fear of Dogs

by Dr. Jane Bicks

Many Americans know this kind of fear, though fewer know the technical term for it, and even fewer are ever formally diagnosed.

Animal-based phobias are the most common type of fears. A recent study put the number of US citizens suffering from a fear of dogs at well over 60 million people.

Fortunately, it’s a condition that can be overcome. To learn more about cynophobia, check out the latest from Dr. Jane. In this post, she explores the ins and outs of this all-too-common fear.

Read Dr. Jane’s post now

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Renovate Your Mind

by Clint Byars

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed (changed, transfigured) by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

No amount of physical effort can produce spiritual transformation. Your spirit doesn’t grow, it’s either righteous and made one with God or it’s not. What needs to happen is that we begin to think, feel and act in agreement with the condition of our spirit so the rest of our being experiences transformation.

If you want changes in your life, they come through renewing your mind, not behavior modification. Renewing your mind persuades your heart of the truth and as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

You will think about, feel and then do what you believe in your heart, so take the time to persuade your heart of Kingdom truth. Tend the garden of your heart so you’re yielded to the influence of God rather than focused on the way of the world or the world’s system. You can preach external, behavioral, specific, cultural issue focused messages or you can go after people’s hearts by preaching spiritual truth rather than carnal failure.

• Everything God has for us, every spiritual gift within us is worked out of us by grace through faith
• Faith accesses grace and faith works by love
• Faith is a response to what Jesus has done
• So do you know what Jesus has done? (see the Renew Your Mind posts to discover what He has done in believers)

Any attempt to earn or qualify through physical effort nullifies (renders ineffective) grace.

"I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." Galatians 2:21 NASB

Note From Donna:
This teaching series has really clarified and opened my heart to see and understand the "how-to" of renewing my mind.  These are actually notes from the 3-part video series.  You can read through the rest of the notes and be better prepared for the video teaching which is below them.  This is the link to do it.  You will be totally blessed if you sink your mind into it and not just skim the surface of the words. 

Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNature InUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins can be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/15/14

  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/15/14 
  by Donna L. Watkins  



Hello Dear Friends!

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Donna & Randal - Cliff Walk - Newport, RI
Date:  9/9/99
Always looking back to photos from the past.  They bring smiles to my face and a wonder to my heart that I've been blessed to travel as much as I have.  Fortunately I found a husband who was willing to travel also, even though he'd never done any of it unless it was with a school group.

I grew up loving to travel.  Don't know where the delight came from since we never took family vacations, but my dad would go to Ocean City, MD every year for deep sea fishing and when I got to age 11, he would take me along.  My mother always said her vacation was having us gone.  She was one of those old-fashioned housewives who did everything, so not having to cook on schedule she felt like she was on vacation.

When I got into my 20's dad and I would plan trips together.  He definitely had a travel bug too, so I guess it was in him, although he only ever took that one vacation week annually.  He even traveled with me from Atlanta down through Mexico towns all the way to Acapulco in my newly purchased car.  I was living in Atlanta at that time.  Those Mexico roads had no side rails and they were winding mountain roads.  Crazy!

This spot in Newport, Rhode Island, was really special.  I love rocky coastal views of the ocean (like in Maine).  There were beautiful homes along the streets above this spot.  We had been visiting with a friend, so it was nice that she could join us and guide us around the town.  I love seagulls also.  I like New England, but wouldn't want to live there due to the long winters.
View Newport, RI Photos.
View Boston, MA Photos.
View Plymouth, MA - Plymouth Rock and Seacoast Area.
View New Haven, CT - Yale University & Lighthouse Point.

Randal's Parents - Jo and Ray
Randal left for Oklahoma City on Saturday.  Not what you'd call a fun trip.  He will be helping his brother move their parents to a long-term care place rather than the assisted living arrangement they have now. His dad has gone into Hospice care.

His dad's been totally blind for the past few months and that has been very difficult on him.  Seems he headed downhill shortly thereafter.  He's 88.  It's certainly been hard on Randal's mom since they depended on each other for various things. His Dad has been placed under Hospice care.  Our son lives in Oklahoma City also and has grown very close to his grandparents, so it's a difficult time for all.  I'd appreciate your prayers if the Holy Spirit brings them to mind.  Thanks!

We took an overnight trip for Labor Day weekend to Hampton (2.5 hours).  Had a few nature trails to hike but it turned out pretty hot and I'm not fond of the sun, although it seems that the areas of my skin that had lost pigment (condition called vitiligo) are beginning to fill in a polka dot of pigment at a time.  I've been expecting healing.  For 38 years I've had to avoid the sun due to the dermatologist informing me along with a bunch of reading materials that I was open for instant skin cancer since I had no pigment to offer any protection. 

I lived that way, considering cloudy days a real blessing, until not long ago.  Living in Virginia hasn't had the blazing sun we had in Alabama and Georgia and with a shaded yard with only patches of sunlight I've been boldly stepping out.  I am light-skinned so it isn't as noticeable as it is on darker-skinned people unless I tan.  So it's a toss up between my vanity and my love of the outdoors.  But now, I see I am in the process of healing and am very excited.

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James River Bridge - Seagulls on Each Lamp Post
When we got to the turnoff for our first stop in Hampton, VA, we went the wrong direction and headed over the James River Bridge before realizing we were going south instead of north.  The drive across the bridge was nice.  When completed in 1928, the 4.5-mile (7 km) bridge was the longest bridge in the world over water.

On the way back I noticed that there were seagulls on the top of the light posts.  It was really funny to see.  Each lamp had one seagull as if it was standing guard in a lighthouse or something.  I wonder if they sleep there in winter since the warmth from the lights would make it a bit more cozy than many places.  The enlarged view of the photo shows them lined up on both sides of the bridge.

When we finally arrived at Grandview Nature Preserve it was hot.  We'd been there before in January 2007, but this was not the entrance we used.  This one was super sunny and bare of any shade.  The trail had no view of the wetlands due to tall marsh grasses.  I couldn't find anything on Google about another entrance or a closed entrance.  People were hitting the trail with beach attire, coolers and chairs.

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This Little Piggie Went to the Beach
The most interesting thing we saw was this party of three coming out as we came into the trail.  One lady barely had a bikini staying with her and a man followed behind along with two dogs ... uh! ... one dog and one pig.  I did a double take.  It was really funny.  The pig just followed along behind the dog.  So cute!  We didn't get too far before we turned around for the car. The heat had me moving at a snail's pace and I couldn't breathe.  I added the few photos I took to the original album of our first trip. View Grandview Nature Preserve Photos.

There was a stream on the side of the street we parked on ... more mud than running water, and Randal's eye noticed a bunch of crabs coming out of the mud and running up a hill.  I assumed they were Mud Crabs which we had seen before in SC.  I did get a picture but the video of mud crabs in SC is much better.

The special highlight of the day was getting to ride a horse on a restored 1920's carousel.  It was indoors with air conditioning ... so it was hard not to linger after the ride was over.  You can see how delighted I was about being on one of the carousel horses.

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Donna Riding Carousel Horse
View Entire Album 
When I was a young child, we would go to Hershey Amusement Park (what it was called in the 50's).  My mom wouldn't ride anything but the carousel and she sat in one of those benches like you see in the photo while Daddy and I went up and down.  It was a very special memory to be able to do this.

The historical info on the carousel is very interesting ... if you have a sweet carousel memory of your own.  This carousel was built near Philadelphia which was not far from where I lived growing up, so that made it even more special.  I have put a lot of info on the photo titles.  Also in the Carousel Park was a 400th City of Hampton Anniversary Commemorative Area with monuments.  View Carousel Park and Carousel Photos.

We visited a couple more places but I will share that information and photo links in the next newsletter.  It takes me some time to get all the historical data in the photo captions.

Every year during summer we have an issue with fruit flies since we bring in a lot of fruit to this house in bulk quantities, so the fruit flies don't get a chance to vacation elsewhere.  I can handle about 20 of them and after that they begin to get on other stuff, like the plate of food I have ready to take to the screened porch, but left on the counter till I get my herbs.  In a split second they will find anything that has fruit. 

So ... we use a simple approach to limiting populations with vinegar.  We tried it with white vinegar and it doesn't work much at all.  Read the article:  Make a Apple Cider Vinegar Trap for Fruit Flies.  We also use a small marinated artichoke hearts jar with a few small holes punched in the lid, again big enough for them to get through but not come back out.  That works rather well and we can keep it for next year all ready to go.

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Young Male Deer With Uneven Antlers
More Deer Photos

We have deer on our property all day long.  Sometimes they will be resting in the back woods and sometimes foraging amongst our garden plants in the front.  They like the water from the pond out back and also the area where we throw our fruit and veggie scraps, so they are one of many that check out the "salad bar" daily. 

This young guy is easy to recognize since he's got such short antlers on one side of his head.  I'd seen some before that weren't quite as tall, but not like this where it's less than half as tall as the other side.  They're all cute though. 

It's such a blessing to be able to be surrounded by God's creatures as I spend as much time on outdoor activities that I can since I love the screened porch.  I do all my computer work out there and reading and writing and playing with the cat.  The best part is watching all that is going on around me on the attached deck and in the back woods and bird feeders.  If you build it (no matter how small) they will come.  Even an apartment balcony can attract many species of birds and pollinators. Get information on how to attract them in your area of the country: Free Pollinator Friendly Planting Guides.

Crocheted Cap Made By Christina
One of my birthday gifts was from my friend, Christina, in Texas.  She's real artsy and makes jewelry, does wall murals and paintings on canvas, and all kinds of crocheted things which includes the owl cap you see in the photo.

I think it's absolutely adorable and a fun thing to wear.  My husband asked if I was going to wear it "out and about" and I said, "What a hoot that will be" (pun intended).  Reminds me of the poem about when you get old and wear purple and red together.

It will certainly be fun to wear in the winter to keep me warmer.  Did you know that a lot of the heat from our bodies escapes from a small area on the head?  That's why they wore nightcaps when going to bed in the olden days.  (See this article.)

Donna in Crocheted Cap
Made by Christina for Birthday
Our son wanted to see me wearing this, so my sweet husband took a photo of me with it on.  It feels really comfortable and I can tell it will be a nice addition to my winter days.  By the way, the painting next to me is one that was done by Christina.  Take a look at her Etsy website.  Maybe you can buy some early Christmas gifts.

Have you ever wondered why some of your emails end up in people's spam folders or are marked as junk when they come into a person's desktop email?  Somebody shared a web link where you can check to see if your email address has ever been 'pwned.'  I checked mine and found it had been pwned on two sites out there in cyberland. The email address and my password were taken on both.  That means I need to change my password and if I've used the same password on other websites, those need to be changed also.  Maybe you want to check to see if your email address has been pwned.

It seems I've graduated from my admonition from God to "trust and rest." I had been hearing that for over a year and it took most of that year to realize that I didn't really trust anybody in my life and to gain a concept of what trusting really meant. I came to realize that it was a foreign concept to me.  I shared about that in my blog post, Do You Really Trust God?

My new "assignment" is to focus on expecting good from God.  To truly begin to grasp how worthy I am in Christ so that I can begin to live the life of abundance that Christ said He came to give us.  We are so performance-motivated from the time we're young children, we "earn" things by being good and we get punished by being bad.  School, work, laws, and even relationships enforce this concept.  So, it's easy to see why it's so hard to understand unconditional love with a mind that's established in performance.

Source:  shoutitforlife.com
I've been meditating on I Cor. 2:9:  "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."  The imagination can go wild soaking this up.  It's not about material things but just that the God of the Universe loves us so much he has stored up things for us when we are in a love relationship with Him.  

Most folks don't go on to the next verse after quoting this ... but verse 10 says that "God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.Jesus told His disciples that when He left He would send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  He is the one who teaches us all things (John 14:26).

It's so important to take time to be tuned into God.  He is always speaking to us through His Spirit, but we allow our minds to be busy with day-to-day stuff and don't take time to be still and know what He is saying. We worry about things in the future and the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will tell us of things to come, so we can know the future and be at peace with life.

I like the way the Amplified Bible puts it:  "But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you."  (John 16:13-14)

May your days be blessed with His still small voice and your circumstances fade into nothing compared to being loved by God.

Have a blessed time with the Lord this week.
Donna


P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?
Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter:  
http://www.thenatureinus.com/2014/09/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-91514.html

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